California environmentalists reach agreement on sweeping plastic waste law

Environmentalists say they have reached agreement on key legislation to reduce the amount of plastic Californians use once and throw them in the trash — a compromise that could keep Californians at bay. Plastic Waste Control Initiative outside the November poll.

The deal signals a major breakthrough after bills targeting pollution from single-use plastics have died over and over at the state capitol in recent years due to fierce opposition from industry groups.

Under the agreement, environmental groups will likely withdraw their ballot procedure if the legislature approves the bill before the June 30 deadline to remove the initiatives from the fall ballot. The deal is the culmination of months of negotiations between environmentalists, lawmakers and some business groups.

Bill SB54 would require plastic manufacturers to ensure that plastic and food packaging materials — such as cups, straws and eating containers — are recyclable or reusable. Manufacturers will also be required to significantly reduce the amount of plastic they produce in the first place.

Supporters said the bill, if approved, would be a historic step to tackle the plastic pollution crisis wreaking havoc on ocean habitats and the environment more broadly. The bill for plastic reduction will be the most comprehensive in the country.